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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Women’s Strength Club looking to end the weightlifting stereotype

The Marquette Women’s Strength Club at O-Fest 2022. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Women’s Strength Club.)

Maddie Arnett, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, was working out in the gym in early spring. Allison Schmidt, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences walked up to her asking about a club for women to exercise together. 

“She (Schmidt) was just going up to people like, ‘Hey, if I started a club that dealt with women and weightlifting, would you join it?’ I was like, ‘Absolutely,’” Arnett said. 

The Women’s Strength Club is one of the newest student organizations at Marquette. The club was created less than a year ago, in March 2022, by Schmidt.

Arnett said the club was started to be an outlet for women at Marquette who wanted to learn more about lifting weights. She said one of the goals is to end the stereotype that weightlifting is only for men.

“There’s this big notion now that women can’t lift because, in the past, it wasn’t a very female dominant thing,” Arnett said. “We get to reshape mindsets and help people put a more positive outlook on weightlifting rather than being scared or intimidated or feel like they’re going to feel judged.” 

Despite being one of the newest clubs on campus, Arnett said club leaders have been impressed with turnout numbers.

The club has 375 members in its group overall, and around 50 to 75 people have attended the first couple meetings.

Arnett said the club emphasizes its initiative to make women feel welcomed, not pressured.

Keeping with that goal, the club does not force members to lift in the gym but instead wants members to be comfortable when they decide to go to the gym. 

The club meets on Sundays at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union, but the specific room changes depending on availability. The meetings are only informational as members of the E-Board lead a presentation on different workouts for the week.

We usually go over a workout of the week, including proper form, sets, reps and techniques,” Grace Bell, a junior in the College of Nursing said. “We also go over topics like protein, creatine use, workout splits and working out for specific goals. We had a nutritionist come in last semester to speak with the group.” 

Along with the informational meetings on Sundays, members of the club can also sign up for lift sessions during the week.

Arnett said there are two types of lift sessions during the week, one is led by the club leaders and the other is for people who do not need instruction but want to exercise with someone. 

“It’s basically just saying, ‘Hey, guys, I’m going to the gym at 5:30 on Monday. I’m going to be there, who wants to meet up with me,’” Arnett said. “Then you put your phone number down, make a group chat and meet friends that way.”

Arnett said she understands that everyone’s workout routine is different. Because of this, members can also choose to work out alone in the gym and inform the club leaders of what worked.

The mid-week group lift sessions are different than going to Helfaer Recreation Center alone because of the culture the group sessions create.

“Our group lifts are different from just going to the rec and lifting alone because we encourage and assist each other in everything we do,” Schmidt said.

Bell said the lift sessions provide the tools to help women lift on their own later in their life.

“We are focused on providing girls with proper form and technique, as well as confidence so that they will eventually feel comfortable lifting on their own-especially in a very male-dominated gym,” Bell said.

Schmidt said the club has made it a priority to create a culture centered around support.

“If I could describe our club culture in a few words, I would choose encouraging, friendly and engaging,” Schmidt said.

Bell said an example of this is when members send each other updates when they achieve a new personal record or try something new in the gym.

Schmidt said the club offers flexibility for its members as attending meetings and workouts not required.

“It is completely up to the members to choose if they go to meetings and if they do the workout,” Schmidt said. “We want to leave it up to them (members) to get that lifting discipline and commitment.”

Schmidt said the club teaches women valuable skills that will last a lifetime, but Arnett simplified the club’s purpose into one sentence.

“We’re dedicated to helping women gain confidence, strength and healthy lifestyle habits through weightlifting,” Arnett said. 

This story was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightSJ.

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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